The Eagles defeat the Chiefs 21-17 to keep the NFL’s best record

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts, right, hands off to running back Kenneth Gainwell, left, in the first half of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Coming off the bye week and it looked like the Eagles were still in relaxation mode for most of their Monday night showdown against the Chiefs. However, the offense did just enough and the defense blanked Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City offense in the second half to close out a 21-17 win.

How it Happened

The start of the game consisted of both teams mirroring one another. On their first drives, both teams forced a three-and-out. Their respective second drives resulted in scores. The Chiefs marched down the field on an 80-yard touchdown drive capped off by a blown coverage by safety Kevin Byard to allow Justin Watson to be wide-open in the endzone to give Kansas City a 7-0 lead.

Jalen Hurts and the Eagles responded with a 75-yard scoring drive of their own highlighted by D’Andre Swift’s 4-yard touchdown run to tie it up.

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) throwing the ball during the first half of an NFL football game against the Washington Commanders, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2023, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough)

After a Chiefs punt, Hurts made an ill-advised pass to A.J. Brown, who signaled to throw it deep as he broke away from his defender, but Hurts threw it short into the arms of L’Jarius Sneed. With the Chiefs driving on the ensuing drive, Mahomes threw a pass into the endzone which was picked off by Byard.

The Eagles were unable to capitalize on the turnover and Hurts was sacked twice on the ensuing drive. Mahomes led the Chiefs to a 45-yard drive which ended in a Travis Kelce 4-yard touchdown pass to make it a 14-7 lead with under two minutes left in the half. After another lackluster three-and-out by the offense, the Eagles allowed Kansas City to convert a 3rd and 15 to get into field goal range and Harrison Butker knocked through a 43-yard field goal to make it a 17-7 deficit at the half for the Eagles.

With the Eagles starting the second half with the ball, the play calling was conservative and questionable when it appeared that a QB draw was called on 3rd and 7 and Hurts was stuffed for no gain for the team’s third three-and-out of the night and fourth drive that resulted in less than five yards through their first six possessions.

Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Haason Reddick reacts following an NFL divisional round playoff football game against the New York Giants, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023, in Philadelphia. The Eagles won 38-7. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

The Eagles defense held strong forcing two Kansas City punts. The offense finally got into some rhythm on a seven-play, 64-yard touchdown drive highlighted by a 35-yard end-around run from Swift before Hurts kept it on a QB draw from 10 yards out to pull the Eagles with three, 17-14 with 4:05 left in the third quarter.

With the Chiefs driving early in the fourth quarter, Bradley Roby forced a fumble on a catch from Kelce to stop a promising drive at the Eagles 14-yard line. Once again, the Eagles went three-and-out. The Chiefs struggles in the second half continued and Jalen Hurts and the offense finally capitalized.

Hurts connected on this 41-yard strike to DeVonta Smith to get the Eagles to the one-yard line. A play later Hurts scored his second touchdown of the game on the “Brotherly Shove” to give Philadelphia its first lead of the game, 21-17 with 6:20 left in the game.

The Eagles withstood a final drive by the Chiefs to hold on to an ugly victory.

O’ Where O’ Where Did the Offense Go?

PHILADELPHIA, PA – JANUARY 29: Philadelphia Eagles coach Brian Johnson looks on during the NFC Championship Game between the San Fransisco 49ers and the Philadelphia Eagles on January 29, 2023 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

Perhaps the biggest surprise in the game was how poorly the offense looked. From the lack of protection and time the offensive line gave Hurts, to some missed pre-snap reads from Hurts, it was a combination that resulted in the worst showing for the offensive unit this year. The Chiefs recorded five sacks in the first half, including four in the second quarter. Hurts was held to just 47 yards passing on five completions in seven attempts in the first half.

The start of the second half was just as abysmal, but the defense gave the offense multiple chances and Hurts and the offense finally capitalized in the fourth quarter.

Top Ranked Rushing Defense Gashed

Another unexpected struggle was the defense’s inability to stop the run. The Chiefs ripped off a handful of big runs against the Eagles’ defense that entered the game allowing the fewest yards on the ground in the league at 66.3 yards per game. Kansas City’s running back Isiah Pacheco averaged 5.5 yards per carry in the first and had 66 yards at halftime.

The Chiefs finished with 168 yards on the ground, the most against the Eagles this season.

The Eagles return home in Week 12 with a matchup against Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills.

AP Photo/Michael Dwyer